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AFC Playoff Picture: Buffalo Bills rooting interests, Week 9 2020

The Bills are looking around the AFC landscape for playoff position.

If the Buffalo Bills are going to move up in the AFC playoff picture, they’re going to need some outside help. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what can happen in Week 9 to help Buffalo in that regard and what can hurt the Bills’ opponents in the standings.

Before we get to Week 9, here are the current AFC standings and playoff picture:

Here are the overall standings:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)
3. Buffalo Bills (6-2)
4. Tennessee Titans (5-2, 2-0 AFCS, 4-2 AFC)
5. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, 3-2 AFC)
6. Indianapolis Colts (5-2, 0-1 AFCS)
7. Cleveland Browns (5-3)
8t. Miami Dolphins (4-3, 2-2 AFC)
8t. Las Vegas Raiders (4-3, 2-2 AFC)
10. Denver Broncos (3-4)
11. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
12 Los Angeles Chargers (2-5, 2-2 AFC)
13. New England Patriots (2-5, 2-3 AFC)
14. Houston Texans (1-6, win over JAX)
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6, loss to HOU)
16. New York Jets (0-8)

Here is the playoff picture:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)
3. Buffalo Bills (6-2)
4. Tennessee Titans (5-2, 2-0 AFCS, 4-2 AFC)
5. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, 3-2 AFC)
6. Indianapolis Colts (5-2, 0-1 AFCS)
7. Cleveland Browns (5-3)
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8t. Miami Dolphins (4-3, 2-2 AFC)
8t. Las Vegas Raiders (4-3, 2-2 AFC)

If the playoffs started today, these would be the matchups:

Pittsburgh Steelers bye
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans


The Buffalo Bills rooting interests for Week 9 stretch from Thursday night to Sunday early and late to Monday Night Football. Lots of good TV watching for Bills fans. here are the games in order of importance:

Buffalo Bills (6-2) over Seattle Seahawks
Sunday 1:00 PM Eastern

The Bills have one of the toughest schedules in the league coming down the stretch and it really begins this week. Seattle is 6-1 and atop the NFC and then Buffalo plays the 5-2 Cardinals (in Arizona). A West Coast team playing an early Sunday game would usually mean an advantage for the Bills, but Seattle was 5-0 in early starts on the East Coast in 2019 and 2-0 this year. It’s going to be really tough to beat them.

Arizona Cardinals over Miami Dolphins (4-3)
Sunday, 4:25 PM Eastern

Step one is winning the division, so Miami not gaining ground on Buffalo would be pretty sweet. Add in the fact that it’s an NFC team and this is a big-time no-brainer. The Dolphins travel out west to face Arizona and hopefully even their record at 4-4.

Chicago Bears over Tennessee Titans (5-2)
Sunday, 1:00 PM Eastern

The Titans own a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bills so knocking them down the AFC standings is imperative if Buffalo doesn’t want to likely face the second-place team from the AFC North in the first round of the playoffs. Tennessee lost unexpectedly last week but are home for the 5-3 Bears this week.

Carolina Panthers over Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)
Sunday, 1:00 PM Eastern

If Buffalo is going to move up into the number-two spot in the rankings, they will need multiple losses by the Chiefs since Kansas City owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Buffalo. A Bills win and Chiefs loss in Week 9 would still keep KC ahead of Buffalo via tiebreakers, but it would open the door for Buffalo to pass KC in Week 10.

Dallas Cowboys over Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0)
Sunday, 4:25 PM Eastern

Ok, this seems unlikely, but it’s a rooting interest not a prediction. The Bills need at least one loss by the Steelers in order to pass Pittsburgh in the standings.

New York Jets (0-8) over New England Patriots (2-5)
Monday Night Football

Bury them. A sixth loss by New England coupled with their second division loss and the head-to-head win by Buffalo would all but eliminate New England from the AFC East race.

Indianapolis Colts (5-2) over Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Sunday, 1:00 PM Eastern

It’s better for the Bills if the Colts win the AFC South because of the Bills’ head-to-head loss to the Titans. Both of these teams are second place in their division but Buffalo will have a crack at Pittsburgh in the AFC North to pass them and they don’t have that chance against the Titans. I don’t know if the winner of this game is going to matter much to Buffalo unless the Bills fall into the Wild Card mix.

Los Angeles Chargers (2-5) over Las Vegas Raiders (4-3)
Sunday, 4:05 PM Eastern

Hopefully this game won’t matter because Buffalo will beat the Chargers later in the year, and will have victories over both to use in the Strength of Victory tiebreaker. Neither team is likely to win the division, so if the Bills are AFC East champs they won’t come into play other than as an opponent.

Atlanta Falcons over Denver Broncos (3-4)
Sunday, 1:00 PM Eastern

Keep rooting for NFC over AFC for now.

San Francisco 49ers over Green Bay Packers
Thursday Night Football

The Bills can use this for Strength of Schedule and Strength of Victory tiebreakers, though it’s not likely to matter when it’s all said and done.

Games that don’t directly impact the Bills

Houston Texans (1-6) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
New York Giants vs. Washington Football Team
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bye week: Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams


If everything goes the Bills’ way this week, they still can’t move up from third to second place in the AFC. They would be primed for a move if they can win against the Seahawks and Cardinals then defeat the Chargers and 49ers prior to their huge Sunday Night Football game against the Steelers on December 13th. If you look at that bigger picture, the groundwork is laid this week.

Projected AFC Standings

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-1)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2, win over BUF)
3. Buffalo Bills (7-2, loss to KC)
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-2)
5. Tennessee Titans (5-3, 4-2 AFC)
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-3, win over CLE, 3-3 AFC)
7. Cleveland Browns (5-3, loss to BAL)
8. Miami Dolphins (4-4, 2-2 AFC)
9. Las Vegas Raiders (4-4, 2-3 AFC)
10. Denver Broncos (3-5, win over LAC)
12 Los Angeles Chargers (3-5, loss to DEN)
11. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
13. New England Patriots (2-6)
14t. Houston Texans (2-6/1-7)
14t. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6/1-7)
16. New York Jets (1-8)

Projected AFC Playoff Picture

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-1)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2, win over BUF)
3. Buffalo Bills (7-2, loss to KC)
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-2)
5. Tennessee Titans (5-3, 4-2 AFC)
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-3, win over CLE, 3-3 AFC)
7. Cleveland Browns (5-3, loss to BAL)
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8. Miami Dolphins (4-4, 2-2 AFC)
9. Las Vegas Raiders (4-4, 2-3 AFC)
10. Denver Broncos (3-5, win over LAC)
12 Los Angeles Chargers (3-5, loss to DEN)

Pittsburgh Steelers bye
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts


Again, Buffalo can’t go any higher than third this week, but they can get even with the Kansas City Chiefs in the hopes of passing them in the near future. It’s going to take a herculean effort to topple the Seahawks, but it will go a long way toward not just securing the division, but a better draw in the Wild Card round.